2020 OPEN ENROLLMENT ENDS (most states)

Time: D H M S

Arizona

I received the following yesterday, and was given the OK to post it publicly. Given my prior screeds about both a) off-exchange enrollments and b) insurance company billing systems being overwhelmed/backlogged, this is a perfect example of why both of these issues are so important to include when discussing the QHP numbers.

Obviously anecdotal stories can't be used as hard data, but I've read dozens of similar stories. Some refer to going off-exchange; some refer to billing problems with the companies; some, like this one, refer to both. Presented without further comment (emphasis mine):

I'm an independent contractor/consultant in Arizona. I have several friends in the same boat. We all had Arizona state-sponsored (but not supported) small business insurance that had no underwriting.

We were all basically locked out of the ACA website from early on and never got back on. BUT WE ALL BOUGHT insurance with BCBS directly, with ACA policies (none of us could have gotten through underwriting) because we all make too much for a subsidy. NONE of us, and the people like us, are being counted. But I'm sure BCBS is keeping track of these direct purchases, which have to be counted toward the total.

When I first read this article submitted by contributor Maurice H., I was pretty concerned, as it made it sound like Arizona's exchange QHP total was only around perhaps 60,100 as of March 18 (the artilce was posted on the 19th):

Final numbers for Arizona enrollment will not be available for a few weeks, but more than 80,000 Arizonans have enrolled in Medicaid and more than 60,000 have enrolled in private health care plans through the site, said Herb K. Schultz, regional director of the Health and Human Services Department.

This concerned me because Arizona already had 57,611 QHPs as of March 1st...and had 43,495 on February 1st. That means that AZ's February average was 504/day.

If the 3/18 number was only around 60,100, that would mean they were only at 2,489 for March, or only 146/day…a 71% plummet from February.

UPDATE: On the down side, I was off by 4% this time around.

On the up side, I UNDERESTIMATED:

Actual Feb. enrollments: 942,833, for a total of 4,242,325 thru 3/01/14.

Sarah Kliff at Vox just announced that the February HHS report is expected to be released today at around 4:00pm. A few items in anticipation of that:

  • As I've noted several times, I'm projecting the report to total around 902,000 exchange-based private QHP enrollments for the month of February (technically 2/02 - 3/01)
  • If accurate, this would bring the cumulative total of exchange-based private QHP enrollments to 4.202 million (from 10/1/13 - 3/01/14)
  • From the data I have, the average daily enrollment rate in February was almost identical to that of January, which had about 1.146 million QHP enrollments. HOWEVER, the January report included five weeks of data (12/28 - 2/01), while the February report will only include four weeks (2/02 - 3/01). Therefore, even at the same daily average, it'll be about 20% lower no matter what.
  • Don't be surprised if Peter Lee of CoveredCA decides to steal some thunder by announcing that California has enrolled 1,000,000 QHPs all by itself either today or tomorrow. However, that would include the past 10 days, while the HHS number will only run thru 3/01.
  • If you want to get REALLY specific, call it 902,800 and 4,202,292.
  • I've been dead-on target 6 times in a row without hyping up my projections beforehand. This time I am hyping myself up beforehand, so I'll probably be way off...but as long as I've UNDERestimated the tally, I'll be perfectly fine with that...
  • The report will be released in about 5 minutes, but my kid gets home from school in about 10, so it'll be a good 20 minutes before I can really post anything. Feel free to follow Sarah Kliff of Vox in the meantime!

Whoops...looks like I may have misread the previous Cover Arizona report. It had stated the total added to Medicaid due to Prop 204 restoration + Expansion as being 134,674, but they didn't specify the starting date for that figure; this time they're more specific, giving the total as 91,115 since October, which is the relevant date. Correcting now...sorry about the mix-up.

As of March 1st, AHCCCS reported that there had been 85,309 Arizonans added to AHCCCS under the Prop 204 restoration category (adults between 0-100 FLP) and 5,806 added to the expansion category (100 -133 FPL) since October. In total, that adds up to more than 91,000 Arizonans who have been added to AHCCCS since October due to the restoration/expansion.

Nice find by contributor deaconblues; Arizona's Medicaid tally was at around 98,000 on January 10, so this represents a 37% increase to 134,674 total. The "coverage restored" note is a bit confusing, but it sounds like this includes a mixture of "woodworkers" and "baseline churn" while the 3,042 number appears to be part of "pure expansion". However, note that I'm still only counting 20% of the grand total (of which this is just a portion) as "woodworkers" and 50% as "expansion".

If any Arizona Medicaid expert wants to help sort this out, feel free to contact me.

As of February, nearly 64,000 adults eligible for AHCCCS under Arizona voter mandate Prop 204 had their AHCCCS coverage restored. (In total, there are 131,632 Arizonans enrolled in this eligibility category.)

An additional 3,042 adults who were without health insurance were able to access health insurance in the “expansion” eligibility category (those earning between 100-133 percent FPL.)

Well, this is a nice bit of good Medicaid-related news after the recent setback: It looks like after dragging their heels, Arizona authorities finally started processing new Medicaid applications, resulting in the number of enrollments skyrocketing. They're now up to over 98,000 from about 40,000 as of December 28th.

As of January 10, 2014, 98,203 adults have been approved for AHCCCS health insurance coverage: 96,834 are childless adults between 0-100% FPL and 1,369 are adults in the new category frin 100-133% FPL.

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